I am not a fan of the typical sharing that takes place on Facebook. For career purposes, however, I contend that Facebook is arguably the social place to be.
- Facebook dwarfs all other social networks with its 1.3 billion active monthly users
- Facebook contains the same networking and sharing functionality found on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter
- Facebook’s vast database is held together and managed by the powerful Graph internal search engine
- Surveys continue to show that a surprisingly large number of recruiters are using Facebook to find qualified, and perhaps passive, candidates
Yes, LinkedIn seemingly has cornered the professional network niche and Facebook is generally viewed as a personal social network. Upon closer inspection, however, the distinction between personal versus professional information no longer has significance in the world of social media.
We are all the combination of our personal and professional selves – in part because employers, as they search for you online, don’t distinguish between “personal” and “professional.” It is the combination of the two they are buying – and you should be selling.
In addition, every company searching for employees online likely already has a significant marketing and/or corporate presence on Facebook. So it makes sense that you, as an integral part of your job search, can do your research and then follow your list of targeted companies on Facebook.
For each company you follow, you will be engaging with an important mix of employees, vendors and customers who will all be discussing real-life issues in real-time. As you start engaging by commenting and sharing news feed content, you will begin to identify real people behind a company’s curtain. Most important, they will begin to recognize you as a passionate follower, perhaps a brand ambassador. This rarely happens on LinkedIn – and represents a huge advantage for job seekers using Facebook to engage with potential employers.
How do you start using Facebook as an even better version of LinkedIn, than LinkedIn? Here are some basic tips to get you started:
- Make sure that your Facebook page is searchable by all search engines in addition to Facebook’s own Graph tool
- Classify your current Facebook friends into your new category nomenclature and set up specific viewing and privacy rights for each category
- To the extent needed, go back in time and re-classify your timeline postings, tags, etc.
- Complete the “About You” section in its entirety – and don’t be shy; use carefully selected keywords reflecting your professional aspirations, credentials and licenses for SEO optimization
- Be sure to list your critical Professional Skills under Work and Education;
- Join Facebook professional groups and follow influencers in your industry/profession
- Start sharing content on Facebook that you would normally share on LinkedIn and Twitter
- On the Facebook pages of the companies on your target list, begin commenting on important posts; ask questions; and answer questions from others on the page
- As you are identified as a champion of the brand, build personal relationships with those running the company’s Facebook page
- When the time is right, let them know you are looking for an opportunity, and invite them to a Skype call or Google Hangout for an informational interview “No pressure,” you’ll tell them, “I would just like to learn more about what it might be like to work there, what kind of people do well, etc.”
Bottom line: Too much time spent fine-tuning LinkedIn or networking on Twitter might cause you to miss out on the social network with the largest professional upside. Take another look at Facebook – and re-imagine it for what it can do for your career!
And remember: no social media channel is a passive activity. Keep researching, keep connecting, keep building your reputation – both personal and professional – and you will be found.
About the Author: Alan Katzman is the founder and managing member of Social Assurity , a company formed to help high school and college students optimize their online presence for when colleges, coaches and employers take a look.. Prior to founding Social Assurity, Alan managed the legal and administrative functions for several tech companies including Avaya, SolutionPoint and i3 Mobile Inc. He is the father of 2 college-aged daughters and lives in the NY Metro area. Follow Alan and Social Assurity on Twitter.